A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire...
They’re gone now, the kids, that is. Flew the coop. Made their getaway. Decamped. Got full time jobs, homes, and partners. But, with them, went some of my subject matter and inspiration.
When they were here, filling the house with their friends, their homework, and their empty glasses, I longed for a quiet time—that didn’t include the hours between bedtime and sunrise—to pen my thoughts and stories. My writing time came in half-hour spurts and my finished copy rarely passed one thousand words. I couldn’t think in the long-term, couldn’t plan a book with chapters. Even as the kids neared adulthood, the disruptions continued, as they needed cover letters proofread, car loan guidance, and relationship advice.
Though frustrating, it worked as well as it could. The feature articles I wrote for local magazines were light and never more than a few pages. I penned humorous essays about the kids’ childhoods, then their teenage years, and hoped I wouldn’t have to write one about their boomeranging back home.
As the kids’ time away lengthened, so did my writing. I moved from short magazine articles to short stories. They took jobs abroad, started families, and contributed to IRAs. I published a romance novel and made strong headway on two more books. I could write for an entire morning or afternoon and never hear the word “mom.” Several thousand words flew from my fingers in a single sitting, and I got up only to pour another cup of coffee or to let the dog out.
Now and again, I wish the kids were still here, young and in this house. I’m at a loss when it comes to adding details to a young character; I have no ready-made, ever present example of teenage lingo, popular shows, current fashion, and music choices. I don’t know the latest apps, or when and if a character should text, tweet, or take a picture. I long for the material the kids provided by their own behavior and the essays, funny and serious, that evolved from their very being.
Sometimes I wish for their presence simply as an excuse to stop writing when an assignment is boring or I’d rather be baking.
Perhaps the grandchildren will visit soon and I can learn about Netflix or Snapchat. I can bring young characters back into my writing and have them be believable and modern.
Or maybe I’ll just make cookies. Chocolate chip, anyone?
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